Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman


The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman
Copyright 2006
Pocket Books (fiction)
392 pages


What led you to pick up this book? It was sent to me as an advanced reader by Simon & Schuster. When I was trying to decide which book to read next, I picked up The Accidental Mother and began to read it, just to see if it sparked my interest. The author sucked me in immediately.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. Sophie and Carrie were best friends, but they drifted apart. Now, hopefully on the verge of a promotion, Sophie's carefully planned life (which does not include children) is thrown into chaos when she's informed that Carrie has died, her husband can't be found, and her two children need a home. Sophie had agreed to be their legal guardian in the event of disaster, with the thought that such an event would never occur, and now she's stuck caring for the two urchins while England's social service attempts to locate their father.

What did you like most about the book? I really loved just about everything about this book and had difficulty putting it down.

What did you think of the main character? Within just a few pages, I grew fond of Sophie and knew that I was going to enjoy reading her story.

Share some quotes from the book. Please bear in mind that this is an advanced reader copy and some changes may be made to the published version:

When Sophie is preparing for a meeting with representatives of a German company:

"Guten Tag, Herr Manners." Cal said it first, slowly and carefully. The fact that he was multilingual made him a real asset, as he never tired of reminding her.
"Guten Tag, Herr Manners." When Sophie said it, she sounded like her cat, Artemis, when she was coughing up a hairball.
"Mmmm," Cal said. "Once more with feeling."
"Guten Tag--Oh, bollocks."

When Sophie is trying to explain to a social worker that she's hardly fit to take on the care of two small children:

"Look, I don't have much--any--experience with children, except for my own childhood and that was . . . unusual. My mother didn't raise me, a chocolate Labrador called Muffin did." Tess raised an eyebrow. "Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but in any case I don't have much to go on."

Share a favorite scene from the book: The youngest of the two children (Bella is 6 and Izzy is 3), Izzy, has become terrified of automobiles, due to the fact that she was in the car when her mother was killed in a terrible automobile accident. I absolutely adored the scene in which Sophie takes the children to her car and pulls Izzy onto her lap with the door open to begin the process of helping Izzy slowly recover from her fear by gradually exposing her to safe moments in the car, an idea she got from a manual on dog care that her mother gave her.

In general: I truly enjoyed this book, loved the characters and cared what happened to them. There were moments that I became annoyed with Sophie but I think you could say that I had faith in her; I believed that she would figure things out, in the end. A lot of what happened was unique and surprising, making the book even more pleasant. The story wasn't totally trite and predictable--at least, not in the way it easily could have been. I think I was expecting "Baby Boom: The Book," and it was not that at all. Author Rowan Coleman's story is original; there are funny moments, serious moments, and a few times I had to wipe a tear or two away. The Accidental Mother is a lovely story that I'd particularly recommend to those who like a tale of reinvention in which the character still manages to stay true to herself without allowing herself to continue clinging to her own fears.

4.5/5 - Excellent! I had trouble putting this one down. I don't think it's perfect; the prose is not what you could call lyrical or beautiful in any way--the writing is light--but I found it meaningful rather than fluffy and mindless.

23 comments:

  1. It's nice to read such a glowing review. I'm looking forward to reading The Accidental Mother. Thanks, Nancy.

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  2. Booklogged,

    I hope you enjoy The Accidental Mother as much as I did. It's a little chick-littish, as far as the writing style, and some people might be put off by that but I hope not because the heroine does start out with a bit of a shoe obsession but she's actually got so much more depth than the typical "fluffy book" heroine. I thought the story was just lovely. :)

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  3. I got sent an arc of this book as well. I have it near the top of the stack as it looked like something I would enjoy. I'll let you know what I think, but after reading your review, I think I will like it. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Pondering questions aside, this sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for the review.

    cjh

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  5. This sounds wonderful! I enjoyed the little bit of humor I saw in the passage you shared. Definitely adding this to the old list. Great review!!

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  6. This sounds good - pretty cover too. Thanks for sharing it.

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  7. Hi! I just found your blog from Naida's. I am enjoying looking around. I haven't read this book yet but thanks for the review!

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  8. That's funny how she claimed to be raised by a dog and then she helped the little girl using a dog manual. I like that.

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  9. Kay,

    You probably got the same envelope of three ARCs, including Waiting to Surface and The Art Thief, yes? Of the three, this one appealed to me the most and I'm really glad I picked it up when I did. I've read some disappointing books, lately, and The Accidental Mother was a great pick-me-up. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)

    CJ,

    There is definitely a great deal of pondering. Sophie has some issues, but I enjoyed her inner monologue. Her fears, for the most part, made perfect sense to me. I don't know if it's your "thing" because I'm not sure I know your taste that well, yet, but I definitely enjoyed it! :)

    Les,

    Thanks. I think it has a nice blend of humor, touching moments, and . . . I guess dilemma. It's a sweet story. You don't have to soften your review if you read it and hate it, though. ;)

    Tara,

    The cover is a great one, isn't it? I looked up some of the author's other books at Amazon's UK site and they were very cartoonish -- actually, I think the cover of The Accidental Mother may have been, too. It deserves the nicer cover, in my humble opinion.

    Jaimie,

    Thanks for visiting me!! I'm way behind on my blog-hopping, myself. Glad you enjoyed the review!

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  10. Kookie,

    I liked that, too. Her mother didn't figure into the story very much, but she was funny in her own way and I thought the fact that she gave her a dog manual (and then Sophie did use it) was hilarious.

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  11. Oh this sounds like a good light read. Another one for my TBR list.

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  12. Iliana,

    I live to keep your wish list growing. ;)

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  13. Funny enough, this is the one of the three that arrived in the mail from S&S that I set aside as one I didn't care to read. I am glad you enjoyed it so much, Nancy. I think the subject matter seems to be one I've come across in too many movies I've seen recently. Maybe one day I'll get to it, but it's not one I will rush to read, I think.

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  14. Wendy,

    It didn't grab me at first, either. But, then I saw that Waiting to Surface was mentioned in Parade Magazine and thought, "Okay, so everyone will be reading that one." I didn't even read about The Accidental Mother; I just picked it up and started reading it and it grabbed me. But, I can certainly understand why you'd avoid it. I thought it was going to be far too similar to the usual movie fare.

    Anyway, I think it's good that we don't all read the same books in the same order. It gives that particular bunch a better set of reviews and perspectives. :)

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  15. "The accidental parent" seems to have become a popular premise. I'm glad to hear this is a good rendition of that theme and not a rehash.

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  16. Totally off-topic, but I thought you'd want to know...I posted my review of The Secret Lives of People in Love!!! OHMYGOD. Amazing. Totally gettin' a 10/10 from me.

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  17. Heather,

    I guess I've missed that. I don't recall reading any other accidental-parent-themed books, any time recently. Can you name a few? I was mostly making a mental comparison to the movie Baby Boom, which is quite outdated. It could be more of a rehash than I realize.

    Andi,

    Seeeee!!! I knew you'd love it! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! I'll dash right over to read your review. :)

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  18. I've read two books by Rowan Coleman and LOVED them both!! After Ever After and Growing up Twice. Both of them I got from Amazon UK. And both were fantastic! Hopefully, her books will be more accessible here in the States now. (Since I can't afford to buy from the UK anymore!)

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  19. Stephanie,

    I used to order from across the pond, too. You can often find some great British imports at Book Closeouts, so I stopped doing that. Well, you know, because of Book Closeouts and because I was breaking the bank. I'm so glad to know you've enjoyed some of her other books! I'd love to see more of her books on the shelves (and I'll have to remember her, if and when I sneak in another BC order).

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  20. Wow, what a great premise for a book Nancy. I don't know what I would have done had I been in Sophie's place. Caring for someone else's children is probably one of the hardest things to do, in my opinion atleast. You have got me very curious to see how everything turned out. Many thanks for the review!

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  21. Lotus,

    I really enjoyed this one. Yes, I think it would be difficult taking on someone else's children. There's actually a great little bit of dialogue in which Sophie explains to Bella that the reason she chose to let them stay with her was because she loved their mother, not because she wanted a couple of little hoodlums under her roof. That's one of my favorite scenes. :)

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  22. Marta Ziolkowska11:51 AM

    I just finished reading this book and OMG it has to be one of the best books I have ever read , no book before made me have tears in my eyes while this one did , it felt so real . I love the communication Sophie has with the girls and the fact that from having no experience with children she became such a great person and role model. I would definitely recommend this book to people , I loved it so much :) I would rate it 5/5 full marks definitely!! :D

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